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Equestrian Program

Our Equestrian program provides youth ages 5-18 the opportunity to learn horsemanship and riding skills without the expense of leasing or owning a horse. A summary of each riding level is located below the registration links.

Registration for our 2017 classes are open to the general public.  Use the links below to investigate class descriptions, availability and to register online.  After reviewing the online information, should you have any additional questions regarding class availability, registration or the registration process, please email Bonnie at

***the below links will only be active when registration for that season is open***

Lessons, ages 5-7

WINTER (January – February) Classes, ages 8+

SPRING (March – May) Classes, ages 8+

SUMMER (June – July) Classes, ages 8+  Evening classes only.

For Summer morning camps visit Summer Fun page

FALL (August – October) Classes, ages 8+

HOLIDAY (October – December) Classes, ages 8+  Registration open 9/25/17

Once you register you will be emailed an automated confirmation and an individualized invoice, confirming your spot in your requested class.

 Other forms you may need:

Waiver & Release / Membership Application (online)

Dispensa en Espanol Granja Urban Farm al Stapleton  (descargar y imprimir)


When a student reaches the Intermediate 1 level (kids are progressing in the Walk, Trot, Canter and more complex knowledge such as feed), they are given the option to choose the route they would like to take next in their riding endeavors.  Currently, the two tracks a rider can choose from are Dressage and Jumping. On these two tracks the rider will have smaller class sizes and more in depth learning both mounted and un-mounted.  These tracks are also aimed at opening the door for students to explore Equine jobs that they might be interested in the future, as well as preparing them to apply for scholarships and move on to college.

The program is broken down into the following levels:

Very Young Riders (Ages 5-7)/Beginner 1 (Ages 8-18):  This class gives the new rider their first experiences with horses. Students learn how to work with horses both mounted and un-mounted focusing on safety and good horsemanship.

****A rider who is within the ages of 5-7 must stay in the VYR class for safety reasons and cannot move up to B2 until their 8th Birthday.


Rider will be able to:

  • Approach, halter, and lead horses (with assistance)
  • Groom and tack horse (with assistance)
  • Maintain balance on a standing horse through a series of exercises
    • Round the world, arm exercises, sack of potatoes etc.
  • Use direct rein to turn, halt and back a walking horse through a simple course
  • Mount and dismount (with assistance)
  • Maintain balance at the trot (sitting) on a lunge horse
  • Begin learning sitting trot independently
  • Tie a quick release knot

Average time frame for achieving competency – 32-64 hours of consistent instruction

Beginner 2 (Ages 8-18):   This class takes riders who are comfortable and confident around horses and can steer independently at the walk and trot.


Rider will be able to:

  • Be accomplished in the B1 skills and knowledge
  • Approach, halter and lead horses confidently
  • Groom and tack horse without assistance (does not include bridling)
  • Maintain balance on a trotting horse through a series of exercises
  • Use direct rein to turn, halt, back and trot a horse through a complex course
  • Confidently post the trot and maneuver a horse in the sitting or posting trot
  • Learn posting diagonals
  • Trot sitting no stirrups for at least two laps around the arena
  • Maintain balance at the canter on a lunge horse
  • Help another person groom, tack and lead a horse
  • Begin to understand aids and how they are used

Average time frame for achieving competency – 32-64 hours of consistent instruction.

Beginner 3 (Ages 8-18):   This class works on students becoming independent in un-mounted work as well as accomplished in trotting and progressing on to the canter.


Rider will be able to:

  • Be accomplished in the B2 skills and knowledge
  • Post the trot on the correct diagonal (know how to correctly change)
  • Trot in 2-point, sitting, or posting with or without stirrups
  • Understand aids needed to ask for both the trot and canter
  • Be balanced and safe at a canter both on the lunge line and independently
  • Know correct and incorrect leads
  • Be able to canter a 20 meter circle as well as canter the full arena
  • Be able to walk and trot on a variety of different horses

Average time frame for achieving competency – 32-64 hours of consistent instruction.

Intermediate 1 (Ages 8-18):   In this class students are completely independent with tacking and grooming and are progressing in the canter.


Rider will be able to:

  • Take apart English bridle and saddle, clean and appropriately re-assemble
  • Tack English and be able to teach a lower level how to tack
  • Wrap horse’s front legs correctly with polo wraps
  • Proficient in posting trot and picking up the correct diagonals
  • Can properly pick up the correct lead and knows how to change it if on the wrong one
  • Maintain balance on a cantering horse through a series of exercises and simple patterns
  • Maintain balance and control of a cantering horse on the rail and on a 20 meter circle for at least 5 minutes
  • Control their horse on a trail ride outside the Farm boundaries
  • Assist in Beginner level classes
  • Complete and pass all level test below I1

Average timeframe for achieving competency – 72-96 hours of consistent instruction.

Intermediate 2 (Ages 8-18):   These classes encompass either Dressage or Jumping and set the course for the beginning to intermediate stages of each discipline.


Rider will be able to:

  • Complete all I1 skills at accomplished or higher
  • Hold a balanced 2-point
  • Understands the aids needed to extend and collect both the trot and canter (begin to practice)
  • Can ride any maneuver and/or gait with or without stirrups
  • Beginning skills over poles, cavaletti, and small cross rails; moving up to verticals and oxers not to exceed 2’
  • Start to learn to piece together small courses at the trot and canter with simple changes of lead


Rider will be able to:

  • Complete all I1 skills at accomplished or higher
  • Begin to understand how to collect a horse
  • Begin to understand how to put a horse “on the bit”
  • Ask a horse for a bend correctly through turns and circles
  • Beginning lateral movements (leg yields etc.)
  • Perform a training level test with little help

Average timeframe for achieving competency – 80-120 hours of consistent instruction.

Intermediate 3/Advanced (Ages 8-18):   These classes have branched off into one of two disciplines and help students reach higher goals as well as begin to learn early stages of training in each specific discipline.


Rider will be able to:

  • Riders are able to perform any I2 and below task
  • Jump a full course of varying jumps 2’3 and higher
  • Control their horse in a wide range of environments
  • Beginning to learn the flying lead change
  • Can teach skills to any beginner or intermediate jumping class
  • Carry out basic horse training approaches (eg. Lunging, long-lining, etc.)
  • Correctly polo wrap a horse and/or apply standing wraps for an injury or travel
  • Ride at walk, trot, canter or over fences without stirrups
  • Maneuver a horse through complex exercises (gymnastics etc).
  • Compete in discipline-specific horse shows both at TUF and other venues (IEA included)


Rider will be able to:

  • Riders are able to perform any I2 and below task
  • Can correctly bend a horse and put them on the bit
  • Control their horse in a wide range of environments
  • Beginning to learn upper level movements (2nd level etc.)
  • Can teach skills to any beginner or intermediate dressage class
  • Carry out basic horse training approaches (eg. Lunging, long-lining, etc.)
  • Correctly polo wrap a horse and/or apply standing wraps for an injury or travel
  • Ride at walk, trot, canter or any training – first level movement without stirrups
  • Ride a 1st level test and above
  • Compete in discipline-specific horse shows both at TUF and other venues (IEA included)

Average timeframe for achieving competency – A lifetime.

IEA Team (Level I1 and Up 6th to 12th grade)

The mission of the IEA is to introduce students in middle and secondary schools to equestrian sports and to develop understanding and appreciation of equestrian sports through organized competitions and educational opportunities.

Scholarship offerings are made available to those wishing to pursue a career in equestrian sports. The IEA generally promotes the common interest of riding instruction, competition and education in matters related to the horse industry and all segments thereof.


  • To encourage recognition for middle and secondary school equestrians and to promote the equestrian as an athlete.
  • To provide riders with organized competitive opportunities.
  • To introduce new riders to equine sports.
  • To promote the IEA among its constituencies.
  • To provide riders with opportunities to further their education in equine sports and equine-related matters.
  • To encourage liaison with other equestrian associations for the betterment of equestrian sports.
  • To encourage a higher standard of coaching and instruction.
  • To provide information concerning the creation and development of mounted and non-mounted equestrian programs.
  • To establish and enforce IEA rules, standards and policies.
  • To keep pace with the continuing progress of equestrian sports and to encourage good horsemanship.
  • To generally promote the common interests of riding instruction and competition, and education on matters related to all segments of the horse industry.
  • To develop team and individual sportsmanship.
  • To establish a foundation to support the continuing mission of the IEA.

All information comes directly from the IEA Rules and Regulations and can be found on


Rider will be able to:

  • Horse Show various horses at their specific level without having any substantial warm up time
  • Learn horsemanship and proper equitation
  • Learn team work with both older and younger participants
  • Asked an appropriate horsemanship question that is tailored to the rider’s ability level
  • Halt
  • Sitting trot
  • Two point position at the walk and/or trot
  • Figure eight at trot, demonstrating change of diagonals
  • Figure eight at canter on correct lead, demonstrating simple change of lead
  • Change Horses
  • Ride without stirrups
  • Change leads down center of ring, demonstrating simple change of lead
  • Canter on the counter lead. No more than eight horses may counter canter at one time
  • Half-turn on forehand and/or half-turn on haunches
  • Jump a shortened course
  • Trot a jump not to exceed 2’6”

This program is an on going program at TUF that allows kids to join and choose to compete or choose to remain on the “prep” team for additional practice.  IEA at The Urban Farm is a “club” team and is responsible for their own bank account and fundraising etc.


TUF Educational Programs

In accordance with our mission and strategic plan to grow into a youth development force in the Denver metro community, we are aligning our educational programs more closely with the mission and are now offering a more structured curriculum in our equestrian program as well as in our goat and sheep program. This includes a new fee structure for those who choose a competitive path for either the Equine Program or the Goats and Sheep (GUS) Program as well as comparable fees for Goats and Sheep classes. There are also plans for programs in other farm-related areas in the near future such as Poultry, Alternative Gardening, Vermicomposting, Traditional Gardening, Beekeeping, Traditional Composting, Cattle, and more. These fee structures will allow us to deliver an offering of high quality educational programs that align with the TUF mission. Stay tuned for upcoming classes!

TUF Scholarships

TUF has always worked hard to ensure that anyone interested in TUF educational programs may do so even when finances make it difficult by offering a limited number of scholarships for participants who have a real need. With that said, TUF scholarships are limited to the funds made available by our generous donors. If you are in need of a scholarship, you must complete the application process at the time of registration for a class session. Please contact us for a scholarship application. If you would like to help make a class possible for someone else, we welcome scholarship donations!

Introducing the TUF Character Strengths

TUF recognizes the importance of building character in our youth and providing them with an opportunity to practice essential character strengths necessary for individual success and strong communities. Accordingly, TUF is introducing the TUF Character Strengths. These are now integral components of each TUF class as well as the TUF culture as a whole. We see this as a family and community enterprise where parents, staff, volunteers, and community leaders have an opportunity to grow, model excellent behavior, and change the future.

TUF Character Strengths

Respect is the personal characteristic that shows consideration and regard for individuals, animals, the environment, authority, community, and self. Respectful people strive for fairness and equality in all actions and thoughts acknowledging the value and uniqueness of each individual. They follow rules, recognize authority, and positively participate in discussions and decision making.

Responsibility is the personal characteristic of ability to be accountable for one’s own actions, behaviors, and thought processes. Responsible people determine what is expected, gain knowledge in what must be done, and follow through to completion. They are trustworthy, honest, and independent thinker and support others in being responsible as well.

Grit refers to persistence and resiliency. Those with grit finish what they start and persevere in spite of obstacles. They take pleasure in completing tasks, try again and again after failing, and are determined in the face of adversity. They are masters of their emotions, maintain self-control, face challenges and pain with courage, and maintain a positive attitude in all situations.

Caring is an active display of kindness and concern for the world including individuals, animals, the environment, and the community. Caring people demonstrate empathy through words and actions and express gratitude to others. They have purpose beyond themselves, protect those who cannot protect themselves, and seek the good things in all people.

Curiosity refers to taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake. Curious people find many topics fascinating and strive to master many skills. They love to explore and discover and embrace any opportunity to do so. Curious individuals acknowledge that many people have unique knowledge and skills and humbly seek to learn from them.

We Need You!

Accordingly, the Farm pictures a community in which youth, staff, parents, and volunteers are respectful, responsible, gritty, caring, and curious. We want to be the premier promoters of youth development and leadership in the Denver area. This is a big commitment and we are asking for your assistance. You can help by giving feedback, by modeling our TUF Character Strengths, by talking about these at home, and becoming more involved.

What Can You Do?

  • Sign your kids up for classes
  • Volunteer a little or a lot at the Farm
  • Donate time
  • Donate money
  • Donate in-kind services and talents
  • Assist in daily chores while waiting for kids in classes
  • Attend the Fall Community Meeting (more to come)
  • Take classes yourself
  • Learn some new skills
  • Learn more about the Farm to share in your kids’ experiences
  • Give us feedback about how we are doing

Learn more at or email the Farm at 

Happy Cultivating,

Mike Nicks, Executive Director

The Urban Farm Board

The TUF Staff